By Simon Acton, IEVOA Chair, December 2020
As time goes by the variety of electric vehicles available in Ireland is increasing exponentially so I decided to set out to try and get a test drive in something a little bit different. My target was a commercial vehicle and after exploring a few contacts I landed a test in the Fuso eCanter courtesy of Fuso Ireland.
The Fuso eCanter is a fully electric version of the incredibly popular and adaptable Fuso Canter which has been available in Ireland for many years now. It is a mid-sized 7.5 tonne truck which can be specified in many different formats such as box body, flat-bed or tipper to mention a few.
I had my first taste of the Fuso eCanter back in the summer when I was given the chance to test drive a box body version destined for a large national delivery business, then in December I had a further chance to see a tipper version being readied for use by one of the Dublin councils.
Having previously driven a diesel Canter I had a good benchmark to compare against. The diesel version is a fairly unrefined piece of equipment, albeit with great maneuverability and flexibility. The eCanter on the other hand is smooth, quiet and very nippy with a modern and comfortable cab, while maintaining the good points of the diesel version mentioned above including a maximum payload of around 4.5 tonnes.
Power comes from a 135kW motor providing 390Nm of Torque and is equipped with a 82kWh liquid cooled battery pack, in six 13.8kWh modules. Fuso says that this modular battery concept with six individual batteries means that the vehicle can be easily adapted to customer’s specific needs. Driving range is conservatively quoted by Fuso as being in excess of 100kms. This may not seem like much but for the typical use case for this kind of vehicle, in and around our towns and cities, this is likely to be plenty for a day’s work for many potential users.
Charging is by CCS for DC rapid charging at up to 50kW and by Type 2 for AC slow charging at up 7.2kW. On a rapid charger this means an 80% charge in just over an hour or a 100% charge in 1:45 hours. But in reality these vehicles are likely to be charged predominantly at depots overnight on a 7.2kW charger which will achieve a 100% charge in around 11 hours.
First impressions, from the outside the eCanter doesn’t look too different from it’s combustion engined counterparts, aside from a few subtle badges and, for those looking more closely, the battery casings and charging port are reasonably easy to spot along the sides.
Stepping inside the cab, this feels like a pretty decent upgrade from the Canters I have driven in the past, in particular the dashboard now includes a 12 inch tablet style display where you can see all the key information. The high seating position feels familiar giving great visibility and the seats feel comfortable with good adjustments. The drive selector is akin to a regular gear lever with Park, Drive, Reverse and Neutral modes. The amount of power you are using is clearly indicated by a large dial on the dashboard. This has a clear ECO sector marked on it which is obviously where you should aim to be to maximise driving range.
Moving out onto the road the eCanter feels immediately nippy, smooth and quiet in comparison to the ICE versions I have driven before which are somewhat agricultural. With plenty of instant torque and no gear changes required progress is in a different world from most trucks of this size. When slowing down there are two regenerative braking modes selectable from the steering column stalk on the right hand side. The standard mode is fairly unobtrusive and will feel familiar to most EV drivers with some declaration as you release the accelerator, putting energy back into the batteries both when coasting and when applying the foot brake. A more aggressive regen mode is selected by pushing up on the stalk which causes the truck to slow significantly as you release the accelerator, but will not bring it to a complete halt, unlike the single pedal driving modes available in some EVs. However, it does feel strong enough that you could achieve a good amount of single pedal driving with good anticipation as you become familiar with the vehicle.
Whilst I didn’t have the opportunity to drive the truck for any great distance, or with a payload onboard, in order to report on real world range, but I understand from other reviewers that some have been able to stretch the range to almost 150kms in urban driving conditions where this truck would mostly be used.
In summary, the eCanter retains all of what is good in the previous ICE versions of the Canter I have driven, such as great visibility, maneuverability, flexibility for many different uses and impressive payload capabilities and adds all the benefits of EV driving. It is simple, even fun, to drive, it is smooth and quiet and it has enough range to be usable in a wide variety of situations. This truck undoubtedly answers the need for a zero-emission, zero-noise truck for our ever increasing inner-city distribution needs. It is not only an eco-friendly vehicle, it is also cost-efficient and economical for customers. In comparison with a conventional diesel truck, some operators estimate that it offers savings up to €1,000 per 10,000 kilometers on operating costs.
Hopefully you’ve found this useful and something a little bit different to the regular car reviews, especially for any of our members who are decision makers in businesses, many of which will have fleets. Moving fleets to electric vehicles may still seem quite daunting but has many potential benefits including reduced operating costs, the possibility of utilising renewable energy sources and/or cheap overnight electricity for charging and also demonstrating that your business is taking climate change and air pollution seriously, which is now an important consideration for many businesses when choosing partners. It is also a less emotive decision than that for personal transport, so, if a firm business case can be made for electric vehicles as a part of a fleet then it will likely need to happen sooner than later in order to remain competitive and indeed relevant as we push to decarbonise the transport sector.
Further details of the Fuso eCanter can be found here : https://www.fuso-trucks.com/content/eu/ireland/en/models/ecanter.html
With many thanks to Fuso Ireland.
- Wheelbase 3,400
- Overall length 5,940 w/o RUPD
- Cab length 1,625
- Cab width 1,995
- Track width Front / Rear 1,665 / 1,560
- Front overhang 1,145
- Rear overhang 1,395 w/o RUPD
- Frame width 750
- Gross vehicle weight 7,490
- Maximum axle loads Front / Rear 3,100 / 5,990
- Axle loads empty Front / Rear 1,900 / 1,435
- Chassis Payload 4,155
- Mileage ~100 km
- Max. Speed 80 km/h
- Max. climbing ability 20 %
- Electric engine type BorgWarner + Reduction gear
- Peak Output/Torque Pmax 135kW (cont. 115kW) / max torque = 390 Nm (cont. 285 Nm)
- Battery Type Deutsche ACCUmotive HV battery
- Number / capacity 6 batteries (each 13.5 kWh): 81 kWh
Information & Standard Equipment
- Safety equipment ESP + AEBS + AVAS + SRS + Airbags (Driver & Co-Driver), LDWS, Hill holder
- Generator DC/DC Converter (12V – 210A)
- Final gear ratio 6.666
- Rear Axle ASSY R035T
- Suspension Front / rear Rigid (LTL) / leaf spring (rear axle)
- Stabilizer Front / Rear Standard
- Shock absorber Front / Rear Standard
- Service Brake – ABS + EBD; ESP + AEBS
- Front / Rear – Disc brake wear indicator (sound type);Disc (252 x 40) Service Brake – ABS + EBD; ESP + AEBS
- Parking brake – Seat side parking brake lever (fix type); Warning buzzer for parking lever reminder
- Steering LHD, RHD
Polyurethane steering wheel (shock absorbing
type); Ball nut type power steering; e- P/S pump
- Tyre 205/75R17.5 (3200/6000) Tubeless tire, Low rolling resistance tire, Rib tire, Tire valve extension
- Spare tyre and carrier Spare tire and carrier rear overhang
- Frame Side member chassis frame, width 750mm
- Color Standard: natural white (other colors to be checked individually)
- Cab Grading High 2 + Full auto A/C + Room lamp
- Reverse warning buzzer Buzzer outside cabin
- Voltage V Heavy Duty Battery Option, 2×12 V (code EE9)
- Air or vacuum tank Vacuum warning buzzer; e-Vacuum
- e- A / C compressor Standard
- Air con control Standard Full Auto air con, e-Cabin heater
- Audio with antenna, harness, speaker, Bluetooth function
- Tool box Tool & jack
- Mirror Door Mirror Stay EU short (EU long + wide angle or EU long or heated mirrors optional)
- Door lock system Central door lock (all doors) + keyless entry system
- Door regulator Power window (front)
- Lock cylinder & key Front Push start button
- Seat Sheet surface color: Black, Fabric seat (HD) / armrest + lumbar support + suspension (driver)
- Head lamp 12V, halogen, X2
- Fog lamp Fog lamp + DRL (comply with ECE R87), rear fog lamp (integrated with rear combi lamp)
- Innovation Display Energy consumption data, TDC (Truck Data Center), 2nd display